Cork Airport welcomes home Irish emigrants for Christmas

Over 100,000 passengers expected to pass through arrivals over the festive season

Thousands of Irish emigrants are arriving home from Perth and Sydney to spend Christmas with family. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/File photo

Thousands of Irish emigrants are arriving home from Perth and Sydney to spend Christmas with family. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/File photo


Parents greeting grown up children arriving in from Sydney and Perth remarked on the “Home and Away” type complexions of their previously pasty offspring as they arrived off planes on Monday morning to a mixture of tears, laughter and smiles.

Over 100,000 passengers are expected to pass through the gates of Cork Airport over the festive season.

Stephen Deasy from Dublin Hill in Cork travelled home from Sydney, Australia which was his first trip back to Leeside in two years.

Stephen said he “was delighted’ and a “bit wrecked” from jet lag but glad to be back in his native Cork.

“I can’t wait to spend it with the family. I didn’t like the cold getting off the plane but its all good. It is great to see my Mam and the family and the little nephews.”

His ecstatic mother, Christine, said she had been feverishly preparing for the return of Stephen with his other brother Robert also having made the journey back from Australia for Christmas over the last few days.

“It is two years since I have seen Stephen so there is a load of loving. Everything is organised and everything is done. We are going to have a big party. One every night.

“I am feeling very emotional. I can’t breathe I am that emotional. I have three boys and a girl. I have Robert there who came home last week. It is very hard having my boys away. Stephen is 26. He is my baby, he has been out in Australia for six years with his girlfriend Caroline.”

Mrs Deasy whooped with excitement and cheered “here he is” when a tanned and relaxed looking Stephen walked out to the arrivals hall and hugged his brother Robert.

Irish Christmas

Meanwhile, Anne O’Donnell from Dungarvan was visibly moved and could barely contain the tears as she waited at the arrivals home for the return of her daughter Noreen Hepburn for her first Irish Christmas in what felt like a lifetime for her emotional mother.

“She has been home otherwise but this is the first Christmas. We have come all the way up from Dungarvan but is worth it. It is the first Christmas in nine years.”

Mrs O’Donnell leaned up against the barrier and was shaking as she anticipated the return from Australia of her beloved Noreen who she said was a much loved and cherished daughter.

Simon Walsh from Whitegate in East Cork was anticipating the first Christmas home from Australia in four years for his daughter Jessica.

“We miss her big time. Her life is perfect in Australia but her family are all here. She is a big baby but she is our baby.”

Her brother Rory said he missed having Jessica in Cork as she is his only sibling. He added it was also difficult for Jessica not to be able to spend time with his three year old son Sam.

“She is three so she is missing her nephew an awful lot. Its tough not having her around. It is only me and her. We miss her big time.”

Meanwhile, an emotional Susan O’Brien arrived off the plane at Cork Airport wearing Christmas clothes as she prepared to celebrate her first festive season home in three and a half years.

“I live in Perth and work in a mining lab. I miss family, friends, food but not the weather! Just Irish people, the culture, the fun, the laughs. I miss the laughs. That is what I miss most when away it is the laughs. I have not been home since I left. I can’t wait.”